Sunday, December 23, 2007

More from Good Times Auto Show

I thought I'd post some more cool pictures of cool cars from last August's Good Times Amature Auto Show, which takes place right here in my neighborhood on the west side of Colorado Springs.

This one reminds me of the cop cars in the old gangster movies.

"It's a new Baccaruda, I mean, Barracuda." Looks fast just standing still. Correction: It is not a Barracuda. Somehow, I had that in mind while I was looking at the cars--I had just been looking at a '69 Barracuda--that I was taking a picture of that car. It plainly says "Dodge" on the hood and it's a '73 Challenger RT

Classic Shelby Cobra.

Classic Mustang Shelby Cobra with original paint scheme.
Hopefully I'll be able to post more soon.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Something to occupy the off-season

TSR-A Fan's View is an excellent blog normally featuring news about Tony Stewart's WoO and USAC teams. During the off season, however, TSRfan is keeping himself, and the visitors to the site, occupied by posting videos of highlights of Tony Stewart's Cup racing career. I think that this is an excellent idea for the off-season season, and the site is well worth a visit.
And, darn it, I wish I'd thought of that!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Kasey Kahne Ordeal

This article is one of many we have seen of Kasey Kahne's pending legal troubles. What follows is an item we haven't seen, but, I suspect, is out there somwhere:

Now Hiring--Security Guard

Requirements: Must be at least 60 years old, weigh less than 120 pounds and be able to take a fall convincingly and sustain injuries.

Salary: Employee will be paid $15 per hour while standing post, plus 40% of all revenues received by the employer from lawsuit, settlement, or punitive damages.

Apply at the law offices of Scruem and Moore

Monday, December 17, 2007

Interesting stuff elsewhere

I have been neglegent in promoting the bloggers who have joined the Blog Catalog Group NASCAR Bloggers Full Throttle. Since I have more time to do so now, I would like to direct the readers' attention to Trouble In Turn 2 Mike, the blog's author has a series of several posts giving a rundown and review of each Cup team's season in '07. This is good reading, for Mike manages to stay mostly unbiased, informative, and entertaining in his writing. Please take the time to visit his site, and enjoy!

One of my all time favorite Christmas Videos

Bing and Bowie Classic, including the introductory sketch. Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Thanks to Poor Grrl Zone for digging this up!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Is there a quick fix?

Everybody has ideas about how to repair the perceived problems in NASCAR. I say "perceived," because some of the problems are just journalistic pot stirring with no real basis, and I mean "everybody" because even people who don't pay attention to NASCAR have suggestions.
A lot of the blame goes to Brian France, some of it unjustified--"he is in Hendrick's pockets," some say--but much of it is justified. Why? Because Brian thinks like an accountant, without the savvy for NASCAR that his father and grandfather had.
So Brian felt compelled to spell out what he thought were the issues, during the Championship week in NYC. As quoted in this article by Daytona's Mark DeCotis, Brian made himself more of the problem:

"It would have helped if he (Dale Jr.) would have been competitive. He didn't win an event, and he certainly didn't make our playoffs. And that's unhelpful if you're trying to build ratings."

Way to go, Mr. France, you just disenfranchised the rest of the 66% of NASCAR fans who are Dale Jr fans.
Now to be fair, that quote was taken out of context. But, nonetheless what Brian meant to say is still pretty disingenuous. This is the kind of thinking he used when he, the NBC sports producers, and Nextel Racing officials came up with the Chase for the Championship, that people won't watch racing if the competition level isn't up to their expectations. He figures that his ratings are down because Dale Jr wasn't in the Chase.
Part of the drop in television ratings is due to the fact that there are other ways to watch a NASCAR race from home using the Internet. Another part is the ineptness of the broadcasting effort on the part of ESPN/ABC in the second half of the season. These are things that neither Brian France, nor NASCAR can do anything about.
Unlike Brian France, the officials in NASCAR who really are in a position to fix things need to look at three real problems and hope that the TV ratings and attendance fix themselves.
Throwing out complaints that are based on personal gripes, dislike of certain drivers or teams, and conspiracy theories, the three main issues I see that need to be addressed are as follows:
1. The main thing that really grates on our nerves, because it is so useless and disruptive, is the provisional rules for the top thirty five in owners points. When six of the top ten qualifying times are not good enough to be in the race, something is definitely wrong. There are now more than forty three teams that try to make the field every week, so the reasoning for the provisional rule is obsolete. This rule has led to a lot of fan frustration and disenfranchisement. If NASCAR would just get rid of it, it would help things some.
2. Make the CoT racier. Many fans are bored to death thinking about parity and the way it was manifested in the fall Talladega race. The testing at AMS didn't seem very promising either. Though it made for one of the most exciting road races in the history of Watkins Glen, the prospects for exciting racing on the speedways and superspeedways with the CoT don't look very promising. Maybe the tire testing Goodyear will be doing with the car during the off season will amount to something. Almost all of the handling problems drivers had with the car were due to the hard compound on the tires Goodyear insisted on providing. It would be easier to fix the tires than to wait for the drivers to learn to deal with it.
In addition to the tires, the CoT at Talledega was absolutely boring. After Watkins Glen, I had high expectations for the car, but perhaps they were too high. Perhaps some way to reduce the speed other than restricter plates could be found? These cars need something to help them pass, as they are not as aero dependent as the old car, so drafting will never be much more than drafting. I thought NASCAR wanted to discourage bump drafting, but with this big, boxy car there is no way to gain a position unless you are bump drafted. Please, NASCAR, try spacers, or a smaller engine, or something that will allow these cars to have the torque they need to actually race at the superspeedways. Racing need not be about the Big One, so there is no reason to set conditions to create an inevitable multi car wreck. Some fans enjoy crashes, but the majority would rather see more racing and fewer cautions.
3. My last fix is partly serious and partly tongue in cheek. It would do a lot for making an even playing field if NASCAR would follow its precedent of putting the biggest cheaters in the position of finding and penalizing cheaters. For example, according to this article Gary Nelson was the third place cheater in NASCAR history, as far as number and severity of penalties. What did NASCAR do with him after he retired? Since he knew so much about cheating, they put him in charge of race inspections. The same thing with fifth place cheater, Robin Pemberton, who was more recently installed of NASCAR President of Competition. Personally, I feel that if NASCAR is really concerned about a level playing field, they should immediately make Chad Knaus Vice President of competition. After all, at the time the article about the top five cheaters was written, Knaus was one major penalty away from replacing Pemberton in the top five. We could find out for sure, then, if Jimmie Johnson really is that good.
But seriously, NASCAR isn't about to do that, and it really would not be fair. What would be fair, is instead of trying so hard to find something wrong with the cars, NASCAR could be just a little more lenient as far as technical innovation goes. Let the crew chiefs be just a little more creative, and the competition will certainly be tighter.
There is another issue that people still complain about but is no longer a factor--the phantom cautions were ceased shortly after My Favorite Driver's "WWE" comment about the bogus officiating used to tighten up the field.
So, maybe NASCAR is in mind to follow my suggestions, since I am not the only one making these suggestions, they could actually hear these ideas. Perhaps they do make these repairs, and gain back the confidence of race fans.
Perhaps the best thing they could do right now is practice creative use of Duck Tape when Brian France attempts to speak.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Andretti gets international recognition he deserves

As almost every race fan knows, Mario Andretti is the only driver to win a Formula One world championship, the Indianapolis 500, and the Daytona 500. For this feat, and for his outstanding career in motor sport, Andretti was awarded the FIA Gold Medal in Monaco,at the FIA awards gala Friday night.
Although the award is relatively new, it still carries the prestige of international recognition. the fourth recipient of the award since it was launched in 2004 and he joins a prestigious list alongside Sir Stirling Moss and Michael Schumacher.

"I was full of pride when I learned I would be the recipient of the FIA Academy gold medal," said the American, who won at virtually every level of racing during a career that stretched five decades, including taking the Champ Car National Championship four times.

Thank you Mario, for being such a great racer, and giving us a racing hero as we were growing up.

Also, at the banquet, the FIA awarded the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a medal for the best promoter of 2007. Unfortunately, IMS will not be hosting a F-1 race in 2008, as negotiations between Tony George and F-1 cheir Bernie "Mr Snooty" Ecclestone broke off earlier this year. Ecclestone decided that "Formula One doesn't need America," and there will be no more United States Gran Prix. When the award for IMS was announced, Ecclestone was seen headed for the Men's room to change his Depends. Sorry, I just couldn't resist that.

Monday, December 03, 2007

She's back!

Much to my relief and delight, Clance', of The Church of The Great Oval, is back on line after a long hiatus. But what is the first thing she does? She tags me for the same meme that I did last month. This one
I don't like memes, but I did it anyway. However, because I didn't want to bother anybody, I declined to tag anybody. So what happens when you do that? You get it back. So, in an attempt to break this curse--
I tag: The Canadian Curmudgeon
Ann in Arkansas
The witty and affiable Racefan57
and NASCAR Girl, the one and only.
The rules are:
* Link to your tagger and post these rules.
* Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
* Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names and link to them.
* Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

2007 Revvin' Awards Part II

I just came across another category and award I just had to add. Best Save Award: There was plenty of great racing this year, with many good saves, especially as the relative newcomers started getting the hang of the car. But, my award in this category goes to a save that was not on the track, but in the booth, as Michael Waltrip comments during the Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega on October 6, 2007. Listen carefully:

If the video doesn't appear, please click here.

Friday, November 30, 2007

What NASCAR really needs

Since Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfuntion during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2005, the networks have been very touchy about what is said and done on broadcast television. Not only has it made network executives nervous, but it has given NASCAR officials ulcers whenever drivers are being themselves. But don't we think that these officials have gone a little too far?
Jeff Owens, of NASCAR Scene posted an interesting article on Fox Sports on MSN, in which he suggests that fines and points deductions have taken the personality out of the sport.

"According to many fans, NASCAR has totally sanitized the sport of all color and personality.

It has done this by cracking down on drivers who show any hint of temper or emotion.

Take a swing or a shove at someone and you pay a big fine. Spin somebody on purpose and you get fined and possibly suspended for a race. Defy a NASCAR order and you get all of the above, plus a tongue-lashing like you haven't seen since kindergarten.
And God help you if you let a curse word slip on TV. Do that and NASCAR may: Suspend you for a race; take away valuable championship points; make you film a public service announcement; and fine your mother

Not only do I agree with him here, but I have to think that maybe this is the real reason for the decline in television ratings.
We want to see our drivers as they really are. Part of being a NASCAR fan is arguing with other fans of other drivers about how your driver was right about that altercation, and the words or actions by the man himself prove it! We thrive on the controversy about what Jeff says about Matt, or Kevin's observations on Juan Pablo's driving ability. If the drivers have to keep a tight reign on what they say or do, for fear of being penalized points, we are deprived of that portion of the entertainment.
We know that NASCAR broadcasts have not always been so sanitized. Owens writes:

"Many of NASCAR's biggest stars would never have survived in today's climate.

Dale Earnhardt? He'd be broke from paying all the fines levied for rough driving. Cale Yarborough and the Allison brothers? They'd be banned for life for fighting.

Darrell Waltrip and his legendary tongue? Well, let's just say he wouldn't be able to afford a TV, much less have a career in broadcasting.

And NASCAR officials are scratching their heads wondering why TV ratings are sinking."

Granted, we don't want to see a situation where the main attraction of NASCAR is the altercations and grudge matches. But we were highly entertained and interested in the six month long feud between Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch a few years back. That is another thing that we wouldn't see happen in today's NASCAR.
I say bring back the personality, but don't let it get out of hand. As Owens concludes:

"Obviously, NASCAR can't totally ignore violent incidents that endanger lives and publicly embarrass the sport. But it can give its drivers a bit more leeway when it comes to stirring things up and showing raw emotion.

Drivers and officials concede that NASCAR today is as much entertainment as racing.

So let them entertain."


Thursday, November 29, 2007

2007 Revvin' Awards

I have nothing to add to what needs to be done to "save" NASCAR or to any of the "Greatest Moments" that have been hashed and rehashed in numerous articles and blogs. Rather, I will expound on those categories that have been overlooked:
Tragedy most narrowly averted:
There was no competition in this category. The run-away winner is from the Ford 300, the final Busch Series race for the season and forever:

Cockiest comment:
There were three to select from, in my opinion, in this category.
Tony Stewart gets the second runner up for the comment, "Here, Zippy, see if you can fix it now!" as he rolled his wrecked car into the pits. He later admitted that the wreck that took him out of the running for fourth place in the Championship points was his own fault, but when Smoke is smokin' mad, his sarcasm is stellar.
Jimmie Johnson's comment that he would vote for himself for driver of the year made runner up for the cockiest comments award. It's not that he was having an "I'm the Greatest" moment, because he admitted that the other drivers must have done something, but "To be honest, I know my world. I'm not all that up and up on what other drivers have done and wins and things like that. But we had an awesome year.”
That's pretty cocky, coming from a participant in a sport where most drivers acknowledge the accomplishments of their competition.
But my favorite cocky comment came from Kyle Busch, during the Yellow Transportation 300 Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway. He was very pleased with his car, and was running in second place to Matt Kenseth in the closing laps of the race. As the cars lined up for the final restart, The Schrub read the words on the back of Matt's car, "I race 4 free fries," which refer to the Arby's promotion where if Matt won, his sponsor Arby's would give away free fries on the following Monday.
Kyle keyed his radio and asked his crew chief, "Do I want free fries or a radio call-in show on Monday?"
Okay, so it wasn't nearly as cocky as we have heard from the Schrub on other occasions, but it won the award for its entertainment value.
Gustafsen, answered, "If you win the race, I will buy you all the fries you want."
After an exciting final nine laps, Kyle beat Matt by .085 seconds
The "I think I hurt my foot" Award goes to Brad Keselowski for this horrifying crash at the Camping World 300, at Fontana on September 1rst:

The crash not only propelled Keselowski high into the air, but showing that he had real cajones by making the next week's race after the crash, propelled his career, making him Dale Earnhadt, Jr's choice for the full-time driver for his #88 JMS Nationwide Series team.
The Rudest Fan Forums Award:
This was very close to a tie between the Topix NASCAR Forums and the That's Racin'.com Auto Racing Forums. Both abound in trolls and pot stirrers, who like to take over a thread with ignorant and irrelevent statements and character bashing of other forum members, but Topix has improved in its moderation, while the Auto Racing Forums have degenerated so far that even the respected NASCAR journalist David Poole, who participates actively in that forum, has fallen to troll baiting and bashing. By shear numbers, Auto Racing Forums wins this award, because it is a troll forum for and by trolls. You will notice that while the link to Topix is still on my sidebar, the That's Racin' forum link has been removed.
Finally, we have the Best Kept Secret Award, which is another uncontested catagory. Hands down, the Best Kept Secret is the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. This is real racing, with all the beatin' and bangin' you could ever wish to see in a race. The CTS races are short enough that all the drivers know that they have to go for the win from the green flag, and long enough that there is pit strategy involved. I figure it must be a secret, because all we hear about is that the Cup Series isn't like the "old days," and the Nationwide Series isn't what the fans want it to be, which is ARCA. If the fans really wanted to see "Old School" racing in a series that includes both seasoned veterans who are exclusive to the series, and young rookie up and comers, the stands would be full of fans for the CTS races, and the forums less full of complaints.
I would be remiss if I didn't present Special Awards to the kindness and perserverance of my regular readers--who have put up with all my inconsistancies, mood swings, and bad information this year--and to the members of the Blog Catalog group, NASCAR Bloggers Full Throttle. Thank you all for your kindness and support.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Because there was nothing better to do....

I haven't posted anything yet this week, and I got tagged by Tina Renee for the following meme. I don't usually do these, but it is off season, and it is considered polite to play. I like to think of myself as being polite.

* Link to your tagger and post these rules.
* Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
* Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names and link to them.
* Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
Seven random and/or weird facts about myself:
1 I have lived in the same motel kitchenette suite for nearly ten years.
2 I have been a NASCAR racing fan since I was ten, and an open wheel fan for even longer.
3 I live with three cats whom I talk to more often than I talk to people.
4 I sincerely believe that a recently departed friend of mine has visited me, and her family members several times from the other side, since her passing. All of her visits and messages have been positive.
5 My favorite drinking buddies are a lesbian couple, and, no, I don't care to watch.
6 I spend much of my time on line trying to download public domain concert recordings using dial up.
7 After seeing it daily for nearly a lifetime, Pike's Peak is still my favorite landmark.

I tag:
Well, ain't this a conumdrum. Everybody I link to has already been tagged with this particular meme. If you happen to be passing by, and want to participate, please feel free to do so.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

On the end of many things

As we head into the final NASCAR race of 2007, we get a true sense of finality. The qualifying, for instance produced the final Bud Pole Award, because next year, drivers will be trying for the Coors Light Pole.The image of a light pole as the goal for qualifying hasn't escaped me. Light poles are part of the lighting rig used in theatre and concerts to hold the spotlights and other lighting effects.
And, if that doesn't screw up my image of racing, there will be an insurence company replacing Busch as the sponsor of the Sportsman Series. I'm inclined to quote Lauren Wallace here, to say that while we're watching the race, all we'll "be thinking about is saving money on car insurence."
That being said, Nationwide is the company that has the "life comes at you fast," advertising theme, which does fit racing somewhat.
So, watching history become history, we watched the farewell NASCAR Busch Series event, which, thoough it was average, as races in that series go, did manage to show us a somewhat bright future. Kyle Keselowski, who now has a two year contract to drive the #88 Jr Motorsports car full time for the next two years, sowed up admirably throughout the race, showing us that he has the potential to become the first non-Cup driver since Martin Truex, Jr. to win a championship in the Sportsman Series.
The learning process for Sam Hornish, Jr., Patrick Carpentier, and Dario Franchitti continued, a tough learning process, indeed, as these future Cup series drivers learned what not to do. Another rising star, Jeremy Clements, managed to get television coverage by racing Matt Kenseth admirably in equipment that was inferior to Kenseth's Roush machine. That is what Clements needed to do, because sponsors take notice of the relatively unknowns who can get on camera when it doesn't involve a wreck. Clements is also in a learning process, but he is already known in the garage area as one who has a bright future in the sport.
Richard Childress won the Owners Championship in the series, for the #29 Holiday Inn car, after co-drivers Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer accumilated more points in that car than any other team, including that of series champion Carl Edwards. Congratulations are due to RCR and the drivers of the #29 car.
Today we'll be seeing the final Nextel Cup Series race, not only for the season, but forever, as the corporate name of the series sponsor is changed to Sprint. Under a court ruling earlier this year, Sprint will be allowed to continue sponsorship through 2009. No, wait a minute, that's AT&T, which used to be Cingular, the sponsor of the RCR #31 car. Sprint will continue the sponsorship of the series. We will be seeing the last race for the conventional car in the Sprint series today, as the entire series switches to the so-called Car of Tomorrow, otherwise known as the Formula NASCAR car. Spec cars have been in the works for over ten years for the series, and we have finally reached that point, for better or worse.
This will also be the final race for Ricky Rudd, who will end his 32 year Cup career as one of NASCAR's fifty greatest drivers. It is always sad for us to see the great ones leave the sport, especially when it is a name we have seen for much of the time we have been following NASCAR through the years.
JJ Yeley and Dale Earnhardt, Jr will be seeing their last race for Joe Gibbs Racing, and Dale Earnhardt Inc., respectively, as they go to Hall of Fame Racing and Hendrick Motor Sports. Racing whiz-kid Kyle Busch will take a bow from HMS as he will be racing for JGR next year.
There will still be drama to watch in today's Ford 400, as Jimmie Johnson does not quite have the Cup in the bag. We know that things can happen, and if certain things happen, Jeff Gordon could win his fifth championship. By the same token, Jimmie Johnson could not only win the championship, but could be the first driver since Richard Petty to win five races in a row.
Or, knowing Johnson, something could happen while he is trying to win five races in a row that would give Jeff Gordon the Championship.
So, it ain't over yet.
There are forty-one other drivers in the race today, and most of them will be trying to end the season on a winning note. Tony Stewart has set two goals for the Ford 400 that likely reflect the goals of the other drivers, according to this article on That's Racin'.com: 1 Win the race, and 2 Don't screw things up for Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon.
So, there will be plenty of excitement in the Ford 400, and no reason to miss it.
After that, we only have less than ninety days to wait for the next race.
On a personal note, ninety days could be a long time for me, because the Broncos really suck this year.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Plot twists welcome!

We all love a good plot twist. Movies such as The Usual Suspects, The Four Brothers, and The Illusionist keep us enthralled because of their intricate plot twists. And so, we were enthralled with the plot twist involved in Friday night's Ford 200 CTS race at Homestead.
The story started with us thinking that the Championship points leader, Mike Skinner, had a significant advantage over second place competitor Ron Hornaday. Skinner went into the race with just a small points lead over Hornaday, but he qualified forth. In fact four of the five top starting positions were held by Bill Davis Racing, Skinner's team mates. But, to thicken the plot a little, team mate and new "bad boy" Johnny Benson reminded us in a pre-race interview that, though the team was there to help Skinner win the championship, they were all out to win the race.
One thing we love about the drivers in the Craftsman Truck Series is that they are all "bad boys."
So, as the race started, Skinner quickly gained points on Hornaday, who had started further back in the field and had to deal with the three and sometimes four-wide traffic that is a familiar feature in NASCAR truck racing. Skinner increased his lead in points by taking the race lead. But then, the first plot twist--Skinner felt that he had a tire go down, and abrubtly slowed and pitted for a two tire change, putting him a lap down. Still, though Hornaday now had the points lead, Skinner could easily make up positions, and even race his way back to the lead lap.
But that wasn't to happen. Skinner's #5 team had changed the right side tires, and it was the left rear tire that fell off. Because of damage to the left rear hub, the truck had to go to the garage area for extensive repairs,
But, all was not lost. Even though he was eleven laps down, Skinner only had to be twelve place positions behind Hornaday in order to win the championship. If as few as five trucks behind Hornaday wrecked, or had mechanical failure, Skinner would be the 2007 CTS Champion. As the laps wound down, Hornaday's only team mate, Kevin Harvick, fell off the pace, due to a tire going down. That was one. We watched, with four laps left, to see if Hornaday could hang on to his spot, or if the big one would happen as expected.
And, with two laps to go, there was a spin and a caution.
But it was only one truck, and he did not wreck. Still, after the restart, for the Green/White/Checkered finish, the guys up front were racing three and four wide. If any of them had wrecked, however, it wouldn't have helped Skinner anyway, unless, of course, Hornaday got caught up in the wreck.
The wreck didn't happen. Kyle Busch and Johnny Benson raced hard for the win, and in the end it was Johnny Benson who found victory. So, though Bill Davis Racing didn't get the championship, they did get a win to finish the season. Ron Hornaday won the Championship, becoming the second driver after Jack Sprague, to win three CTS Championships. Another interesting plot: Jack Sprague will be Hornaday's team mate on Kevin Harvick Incorperated's team next year.
So, we give congratulations Ron Hornaday, Jr and KHI for winning the 2007 CTS championship, to Johnny Benson snagging his fourth victory of the year, and to all the drivers and teams in the CTS for bringing us yet another incredibly entertaining season.
So, now the stage is set for Sunday's grande finale for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Jimmie "Ernie" Johnson, eighty nine points ahead of Jeff "Darth" Gordon, has the pole. It seems that Johnson's march to the championship is unstoppable. But, in spite of his admitted "joking around" waving of the white flag of surrender, Gordon has made it clear that he will do everything he can to take back the championsip. We have to believe him, considering the incredible performance he has had during the 2007 season, and we have to believe that he could still do it.
Personally, I don't care who wins the Championship. I'm picking Matt Kenseth to win the race--it will be his last race with Robby Reiser, the only crew chief he has ever known in his NASCAR career, and that emotional incentive will add to the drive, skill, and determination he has shown over the last few races.
When it comes down to it, I want to see a good race, and maybe a few good plot twists.

More excitement sure to come!

This is the final weekend of the 2007 NASCAR season, but there is still much excitement to be had.
Homestead is a 1.5 mile high banked track, and has been home to some very exciting races in the past, no matter what the championship points situation has been. But, we have a very close championship race going down to the wire in tonight's Craftsman Truck Series race. Those who follow the CTS know that every race looks like a championsip race, with all the drivers going for every bit of real estate they can get. Everybody who is on the track is going for the win, and they are constantly racing hard throughout the field. This is the purest form of racing among the NASCAR major leagues, and if it isn't enough for these guys to be beatin' and bangin' at 170 mph, we have a drama going on between the points leaders that can not be matched anywhere else. The guantlet has been thrown, neither Hornaday, nor Skinner can count on team mates, and it is going to be one heck of a battle. We don't even have to pick a winner to enjoy this race, it will be a great show on its own.
So, some of us may not be interested in the last ever Busch series race, or the last ever Nextel Cup series race, but a love for the competition NASCAR brings to the track will keep the rest of us watching.
Even if it may seem so, it is not a guarantee that being a Cup driver in the NASCAR Busch Series means victory. Jason Leffler has been consistant, and already has one victory this year, while Brad Keselowski has been living up to the expectations of Jr Motorsports by finishing well in the last several races. These two drivers, at least, are worth watching. We may also want to watch newcomers Michael McDowell, who already has an impressive resume in his young career, and Jeremy Clements, who, though he has had some incredibly bad luck in the series so far, is highly regarded by others in the NBS. In addition, those of us who are curious will continue to watch as Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish Jr, and Jaques Villeneuve continue to learn in their new adventures.
Putting aside Sunday's Cup race, for now, at least, there is also some more exciting news.
First, there has been talk about a racing series featuring some of the greatest drivers from the past. That talk has come to fruition, and, on May 18, 2008, the OLD SCHOOL RACING CHALLANGE Tour will begin, featuring such drivers as David Pearson, Harry Gant, and Dave Marcis. Details can be found on their website, as well as a tentative schedule. The tour begins at Concord Speedway, and we should see some very interesting racing!
ARCA is also taking some big steps for next year. They will be using the hand-me-downs from the Nextel Cup teams, as that series converts completely to the Formula NASCAR car. This will give all the ARCA teams new equipment to work with, for better or for worse, and we should see some good high-horsepower racing in the minor leagues. In addition to having the Carolina 500 at Rockingham next year, the series will add a road course to the schedule at a brand new 2.6 mile course near Millville, NJ. Indeed, ARCA/Remax is becoming a very exciting racing series, and will grow like NASCAR did in the early 1950's.
So, on to Cup qualifying today, which will be another post.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Thoughts--Honoring the Vets and Kyle Busch

First, and foremost, Happy Veteran's Day to all who have served their country, and in remembrance of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, you are Honored.

Some day, Kyle Busch will be forgiven for being Kurt's brother. The man is one lean, mean, racing machine, who's accomplishments in his relatively short racing career have already been notable and numerous. Those who have listened to his Victory Lane interviews after the CTS and NBS races at Phoenix may have noticed that his enthusiasm and anticipation for his late model race in Las Vegas was as great, if not greater than, his emotions after winning two tough races. We at Rev'Jim's have been critical of his racing style in the past, but, now that he has learned and matured, we can see that he has put his talent to good use, and is among the most notable drivers of the Cup series.
No matter who the fan's favorite driver is, that fan knows that his or her favorite has a passion for helping those in need. I'm not talking about the publicized contributions to Victory Junction Gang Camp, relief to the victims of Katrina and the California wildfires, which are very worthy, but expected. I mean the behind-the-scenes encounters, such as the ones many of us Stewart fans find about our own favorite driver. Kyle Busch is no exception; here is a very heart warming and touching story about the Schrub and a behind-the-scenes personal encounter of his own. It is rather lengthy, but it is a good read.
Even though I'll be pulling for my favorite driver, it will be exciting to see if the Schrub can pull a triple sweep at Phoenix this weekend. If he does, we'll be seeing history in the making.
For those who are curious, Kyle Busch finished 18th in the Fall Classic at the Bullring at LVMS, retiring from the competition after a late-race accident involving himself and Shelby Thompson while battling for second. The full race results and coverage can be found here.
Another Kyle, Kyle Petty, described Petty Enterprises' move as being bittersweet. He knows that the move was necessary to try to improve the teams performance, but RPE at Level Cross is the only home he has known.
"I was leaving Dallas on a motorcycle, when (the announcement of the move)came out," Petty told John Roberts on Tradin' Paint, "So I didn't know about it until I got home.
"It's like the story of the kid who goes to school and comes home to find that his parents have moved."
The move is, indeed, big news, for Petty Enterprises has been at Level Cross, NC since 1949, and has always been a family and friends operation. The change, though necessary in the larger scheme of competition, is just another arrow in the heart of racing traditionalists.
Today's race should be a good one. I'm fired up. LET'S GO RACIN'

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Not playing nice

After watching the Craftsman Truck Series race at Phoenix last night, I realized that the Cup guys will not race like that. The CTS is unique among the major leagues of NASCAR in that these guys do not worry about how many points their team mate has.
Johnny Benson, who was in sixth place in the points, going into the race, and his team mate, points leader Mike Skinner, presented an excellent scenario emphasizing this point. At the end of the race, restarted with seven laps to go after a debris caution, there were several battles going on around the track. Kyle Busch was holding off Mike Bliss, who was doing some incredibly hard racing with Ron Hornaday without displaying his knack for poor sportsmanship, while back in the field Skinner and Benson were running seventh and eighth, respectively. Shortly after the very aggressive Hornaday passed and cleared the very aggressive Mike Bliss, Benson made the unbelievable move of passing his team mate. "What the h---," Skinner probably thought, My team mate is stealing four points from me!?!"
My thought is, why not? Because Kyle Busch was kind enough not to play favorites, and won the race himself, Hornaday would not get the winner's bonus points and Skinner would maintain his 29 point lead. What difference would four points make? Benson could find better use for them, those four points would move him up a notch in the points standings. This is CTS racing, boys, and it's every man for himself. There are, as Skinner lamented post-race, no team mates when every driver is out to get what he needs.

“I guess we’re not a team,” Skinner said. “I’m not in too good of mood right now. It’s better than being 29 points behind.
“We’re just one team, the No. 5 team. I don’t know how many teams we’re going to have to race against in Homestead.”

The CTS is the closest of the major leagues of NASCAR to the Saturday night circle burners that are still a passion of mine. All that was needed was a bar across the street from the track, where a spirited fist fight between the two "team mates" would have taken place.
Now, for Sunday, I was going to pick Jeff Gordon to win. His experience and history at Phoenix provide him what he needs to overcome Chad Knaus' genius. But then I saw this headline at That's Racin'.com:
Hendrick aiming for 1-2-3 sweep of season standings
By JENNA FRYER - The Associated Press
AVONDALE, Ariz. – With 17 wins by its four drivers, Hendrick Motorsports has clearly been the most dominant team in NASCAR this season.
Now, if Kyle Busch can close the year with two strong runs, he could give the organization a clean sweep of the Nextel Cup standings.

Now, because HMS teams do follow team orders--witness how two weeks in a row, Kyle dutifully followed the advice passed to him by both his crew chief and his boss, not to race Jimmie or Jeff, even though he couldn't be fired because he already has been--this means that Kyle Busch has to win at Phoenix. And, because he is 158 points ahead of Busch, Clint Bowyer has to have problems, which could happen, but not likely with the way his Chase has been going. But, without making any accusations, which I sincerely feel would be unwarrented, Hendrick Motorsports seems to get what it wants during the Chase, and it would be no surprise if Kyle Busch were to win at PIR, while Jimmie and Jeff stay far enough back to keep Bowyer from gaining much ground, if any, on Kyle.
And this plan leaves little room for my favorite driver.

Friday, November 09, 2007

What I really think

Bruton Smith doesn't make the schedules, or sanction races. Likewise, Brian France gives the final approval to the schedule and sanctioning, but only after hearing recommendations and suggestions from the various NASCAR officers, ie. Mike Helton, John Darby, and their staffs.
They certainly won't listen to me, but I believe the best way for NASCAR to reach the entire country would be to have one race at each of thirty six tracks over the course of the season. No return trips. I know that a lot of Bristol and NHIS fans would disagree with me, but wouldn't it be better to see something different each and every week during the season? Wouldn't it be a better gauge of the driver's ability if he or she had to race at thirty six different tracks, rather than the same tracks twice a season. We don't need two races at California, or Texas, or Atlanta. If Bruton Smith sticks to his promises, Lowe's will be gone, possibly replaced by a 1 mile or shorter track.
Just think--that will leave room for Gateway, Memphis, and, possibly, another road course race at Salt Lake City. Maybe a dirt race or two could be included. Fewer Cookie Cutters will make the season more interesting.
That's all I can say for now, I must head off to my tomato dodging lessons.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Facing the Facts--Again

There are three absolutes we NASCAR fans have to accept after this weekend:
1) NHIS (now NHMS) will be reconfigured
2) Kentucky Speedway will never get a Cup date
3) Jimmie Johnson is the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion.
Now, you may argue about #3, but after Sunday's Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Johnson seems unstoppable. Sure, Jeff Gordon is only thirty points behind, but how can you stop a guy who seems as though he is going to win no matter what.
Each time Matt Kenseth took the lead during the race, he checked out on the rest of the field. Except for when the #48 team decided it was time to go.
During the caution with 37 laps to go, Kenseth's #17 team took two tires for track position, while the #48 team took for. After the restart, Kenseth again took the lead and took off like a rocket. Speaking of Rockets, Ryan Newman was soon running in second place. We all know how hungry he was for a win. But with 11 laps to go, Johnson passed Newman as if he wasn't there. And with nine laps to go he had caught Kenseth.
And boys 'n' girls, did that race peg the wow meter! For nine laps, the #17 and #48 raced as hard as we have ever seen a race. They were taking the turns as if they were on a dirt track, going sideways like winged sprints, and side by side at that.
At one point, Johnson got Kenseth real loose, but Kenseth is better than good, because he saved it and held the lead. But every time we thought it was over, and that Johnson wouldn't be able to pass Kenseth, he came back again, even stronger. Finally, with two laps left to go, Johnson passed Kenseth and cleared him. That, folks, was the fat lady singing.
So, I ask, if a driver as great as Matt Kenseth can't beat Johnson in a race like that, how in the world could a driver as great as Gordon do it.
Johnson is destined to win the championship. Do you want proof? Except for my kind of sort of pick of Greg Biffle at Kansas, every pick I have made this season until now has resulted in disaster for the driver I picked. This time, I picked Johnson, a driver of whom I am not a fan, though I like him, and he broke the curse. Now, how is anybody going to beat a driver like that?
Update: Paul McMahon, the driver of the TSR #20 who was involved in a horrific accident at the WoO Finals earlier this weekend, was held in a hospital in Charlotte for observation and released. He is okay.

The Weekend so far...

The main event hasn't even happened yet, and we have already seen some great racing this weekend, as well as some big news.
The Craftsman Truck Series race, Friday night, lived up to everything for which it was billed. There was plenty of action, the points lead changed again, this time drastically, and we got to see some good racing from both the veterans and the up-and-comers. The drama was definitely there. Mike Skinner now has a comfortable 57 points lead, in spite of narrowly escaping disaster in the closing laps of the race. Chad McCumbee made a bonsai move and tood the lead, but it caused some problems behind him, bringing out a caution. When he spun his tires on the restart, then tried to block--a rookie mistake--there was a big pile up behind him that included the points frontrunners, Skinner and Hornaday. Mike Skinner's damage was relatively minor, and he managed to get the necessary repairs done, and finish third, while Ron Hornaday's damage was serious, and his crew worked heroically to get his truck back on the track in time to get an eighteenth place finish. That's the kind of drama the CTS brings us on a regular basis, and that is why we think that CTS is "the Bomb." The big news in the CTS is that Jack Sprague will be joining Ron Hornaday as team mates for Kevin Harvick Incorperated in 2008. Now that's a powerhouse.
The Busch Series race also had its moments. Smoke led most of the race in a car that looked like it couldn't be beat. Well, the paint scheme could, but that's a different story. An early crash involving Mike Bliss, Jeremy Clements, and the #27 car, resulted in some very bad pit stops. Schrub's crew wasn't ready, and the delays and flub ups forced him to take two tires when he wanted four. Smoke's pit stop was also slow. Somehow, a few laps into green, Kyle Busch was in the lead, which didn't last for long, because Smoke moved up quickly on four fresh tires and easily retook the lead.
Stewart subsequently checked out, and began passing lapped traffic, until he ran into the back of Kyle Krisiloff's car. It was a racing incident, Smoke took the brunt of the damage, and had to pit to repair a hole in the "headlight area." This put him quite far back in the field. He made up positions until he got to seventh place, then apparently decided he had used as much of the car as he could, finishing in that position.
It seems that everybody who took the lead checked out. In the end, there were only 14 drivers on the lead lap, as Kevin Harvick took the checkers, with a petulant, but persistant, Schrub in second.
The big news in the NBS: Brad Keselowski finished highest among the Busch regulars-- which is good, because he is only part time--with a sixth place finish. He is showing that he deserves the recognition he has received from his boss at JMS. Bigger news: Michael McDowell ran his first Busch race for MWR. Even Bigger news: ESPN ignored the fact completely. Well, not that much bigger. Par for the course, actually.
Oh yeah, there was something about Carl Edwards winning the NBS Championship.
The winner so far this weekend: Dirt racing fans who watch Speed TV. Thanks to Bruton Smith, Speed TV, Humpy Wheeler, and WoO for such a great presentation of a great sport. I could actually smell the mud and taste the dirt in my beer. The Big News from WoO--Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) will have a powerhouse next year with Donny Schatz and Kraig Kinser on the same team.
On a serious note: Paul McMahan, current driver of the #20 TSR winged sprint car was injured by a freak accident involving the drive shaft of the car. Our thoughts and prayers are with him for a quick and complete recovery.
So now, we are primed for the Dickies 500. Here's to another great race.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

On To Texas

My little sister, who was born in Fort Worth and lives in TexArkana, pronounces it "Teyaxes," which gives her a really cute drawl indiginous to that part of the country. I just thought I'd say that because it has nothing to do with Sunday's Dickies 500.
Nor does the fact that Bruton Smith has purchased New Hampshire International Speedway have anything to do with Sunday's race. Burton owns TMS, AMS, LVMS, LMS, Bristol, and one or two others I can't think of right now, and he wants to add a second race to Vegas. Personally, I don't think that Smith will pull a race from New Hampshire to move to Vegas, as long as that race sells out. With the races at Atlanta and Texas failing to sell out, he may try to move either the second race at Atlanta or Texas to Las Vegas in 2009.
As far as Loudon (NHIS) goes, we know he is going to reconfigure it. Which is fine by me, because, as much as I like the tracks that are 1 mile or less, NHIS has the worst racing of these. It is like two 1/4 mile drag strips with turnarounds at each end. Not that we would want to see him configure it to another 1.5 mile tri- or quad-oval, but maybe shorten the straightaways and widen the turns so it would be more like Milwaukee or Nashville. Mr Smith, if you are reading this (fat chance!) please consider my suggestion.
That being said, the closest I have come to accuracy in my predictions was at Kansas, after I picked Greg Biffle to be the non-chaser most likely to win the race, and he did. In one of the strangest finishes ever. Otherwise, everything I have predicted results in the opposite taking place.
Since my favorite driver can not logically be considered to be "in the Chase," we could say that the pressure is off, and he can get back to having fun, and maybe even throw a wrench into the works and win one. But that is not my pick.
With my terrible record of picking the winner, I will predict that Jimmie Johnson will win the race with Jeff Gordon close on his bumper. In fact, it should be a near tie. Of course, this is just in hopes that the points between the top three stay close until the very last race at Homestead.
So here's looking forward to a wild, entertaining, and, possibly, very wierd race at TMS. Yeehaw!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Facing the facts

After losing hope that my favorite driver would win the Pep Boys 500 at AMS, I remained hopeful that one of my next favorites, Matt Kenseth might take the checkers. When hope faded for that possibility, I had to accept that a driver whom I have no feelings for or against, Jimmie Johnson, would win the race. And, I have to admit, I found that I was happy that he won.
Johnson had pledged, along with the other Hendrick drivers, he would donate his winnings to the Red Cross, in relief of the wildfire victims in California. Not only that, but AMS track owner Bruton Smith pledged to match the donation of the winner, making a contribution totalling over one million dollars to the relief effort.
With that in mind I celebrate Johnson's victory, and praise him for his generosity. That still doesn't mean he has become one of my second favorite drivers, but I do respect him for making the pledge.
That being said, I have to concede that Tony Stewart probably won't be the 2007 Nextel Cup Champion. Though is is mathematically still in the Chase, it seems that Fate has decided that this wouldn't be his year. That's okay, because that means he can have fun now, which means he can probably win a race or two before the season is up. At any rate, it would be safe to say that the pressure is off, for this season, at least.
With three races to go, it is now a three way contest for the championship. Only four points separate Johnson from the Chase leader, Jeff Gordon. Clint Bowyer is still in contention, though his chances of winning the championship Chase are contingent on the two leaders having some bad luck, which, in turn, seems less likely to happen with every race.
When I watch a race, I watch it as a fan of racing. Being a Tony Stewart fan is secondary to being a racing fan. We can expect some stiff competition between the three viable Championship contenders, while seeing some excellent competitiveness among all the other drivers. And now, I don't have to worry about who is going to be the champion. Racing is good.

Rubbin' is wreckin'

Two of my favorite venues for Busch/Nationwide series racing are the O'Reilly (Indianapolis) Raceway Park, and Memphis Motor Speedway. Usually, we can expect plenty of great short track racing at those two tracks, and they are always something to look forward to.
I say "usually."
The Sam's Town 250, a must watch for me every year, was somewhat of a let down Saturday. If a race is to go 250 laps, 18 or 19 laps of green between cautions is not really a race. We can expect a lot of rubbing and bumping and banging in short track races, which is why we like to watch them, but the wreckage was just a bit too much this time around.
In my opinion, it seems that there are crew chiefs and spotters in the series who want to urge their young developmental drivers to prove that they are not to be messed with. They want to instill aggression in their drivers, and give them instructions to retaliate.
The Busch Series is not the place to be entering into this kind of training. If a driver is going to be in a mood to retaliate, he or she should already be aware of the options and consequences, and even the technique of retaliation, by the time that driver reaches the Busch level.
With the redefining of the Busch/Nationwide series that has taken place over the past few years, it has become more of a "Cup Lite" series than a developmental series. Perhaps, with this in mind, we should expect more of the drivers who race in the series. I would suggest that the team owners give their developmental drivers more time in the ARCA/Remax series, or even the NASCAR Grand National Division--where they can learn more of racing etiquette and protocols--before moving them up. We have seen, too often, promising young drivers attempt to be successful in the Busch series only to meet with failure and the resulting obsucurity. In other words, in the upper levels of "Stock Car" racing, races such as the Sam's Town 250 should be the final exam, not the entrance exam.

Friday, October 26, 2007

If accused of being a troll, write like a troll.

Contrary to popular belief, Atlanta Motor Speedway is not a "cookie cutter" track. Though similar in layout to Texas and Lowe's Motor Speedways, the transitions between the straightaways and turns in all three are different. The surface and track conditions also make a difference, as does the fact that AMS is slightly longer--by .4 tenths of a mile--than the other two. That slight difference makes the straightaways slightly longer and the turns slightly wider, making the track slightly faster. In addition, the surface at AMS is well seasoned, and there is plenty of room for passing and choosing alternate lines of travel.
Now, before I go into my picks, I have to ask some questions; If I suggest that Jeff Gordon may not win a race, is that considered bashing? If I say that Jeff Gordon is one of the best drivers of our time, rather than saying that he is the best driver of all time, does that mean I'm a Gordon hater?
Apparently, there are a large number of posters on the Auto Racing Forum, at That's Racin'.Com who believe that I am a Jeff Gordon hater and basher. I don't recall ever writing anything about Jeff Gordon as derogatory as some of the posts I've seen there about Tony Stewart.
I apologize if I have ever offended any Jeff Gordon fans, and to prove that I highly respect not only Jeff Gordon, but his protoge Jimmie Johnson, I will post one of my favorite photos of the two great racers from Hendrick Motorsports here:

As you can see, they are very good, kind, and friendly looking, and children love them.
Notice: To those who think this is meant to be derogatory, this is just a picture of two puppets who remind me of Jeff and Jimmie. This is not meant to insinuate that Jeff and Jimmie are puppets, cartoon characters, or gay, nor is it meant to insinuate that Hendrick Motorsports fans are children, just that some of them sometimes act like children.
As for my picks this week, I think the winner will be the Sam's Town 250 at Memphis. There will be fewer Cup drivers than usual in that race, in fact I believe JJ Yeley, Jamie McMurray, David Regan, and Carl Edwards will be the only Cup regulars entered.
This will give the Busch regulars, like Jason Leffler, Marcus Ambrose, and Stanton Barret a chance to show what they can do without the higher level competition in the race. I like the Memphis race track, and the Sam's Town 250 is always good for thrills and good short track racing. Besides Leffler and Ambrose, other drivers to watch should be future superstars Brad Coleman and Brad Keselowski. As far as I know, Lauren Wallace will not be in the race. (Oh man, now they are going to get me for bashing Lauren Wallace.)
Back to Atlanta--I do not think this will be the race that Kyle Busch gets fed up with being treated like the proverbial "red headed step child" at HMS. Johnson and Gordon will probably play it safe this race, and not try to win unless it looks like it could be done without much risk. Busch should finish ahead of his team mates, and will wait for his revenge until his final race with the Hendrick team.
It should be one of the better, and saner races of the Chase, so far, and, once again we say, "Anything Can Happen."

Nascar will rock you

I am not a race fan because of crashes--I would rather see good racing and close finishes--but jrfan07, the screen name of a YouTube contributer, puts together some interesting compilations. This is his latest:

I like the soundtrack.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Those Darn Hendrick Drivers

I'm going to forego writing a comment on this, while referring the reader to an interesting and informative post on the Trackbunny Films blog.
All I can say is, isn't Kyle allowed to race for the championship as well? Geez, what an attitude Jeff and his clone have regarding their team mate.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Short Track Ecstasy

This past weekend was a short track lover's delight, with the NASCAR Toyota All-Stars Showdown, and the NASCAR CTS and Cup series races at Martinsville. There was plenty of beatin' and bangin' to satisfy every fan who is passionate about short track racing.
The NCTS (Craftsman Truck Series) has developed a habit of having close championship points competition, and this year is no different. The lead changes between Hornaday and Skinner every race. Isn't it great to see two of the original members of the series competimg so fiercely?
Talk about fierce competition, how 'bout Sunday's Cup race? Although I haven't given up on my favorite driver, yet, I am beginning to realize that this just may not be Smoke's year, but that thought did not dampen my enthusiasm for the race. There may have been a tad too many cautions for my liking, but overall, it was exciting, even with The Gordon leading. The thought never left my mind that something could happen even if it never did.
No, Jeff the Almighty didn't get taken out of the race, but he didn't win, either, which keeps my picks percentage embarrassingly low. Nonetheless, the race had everything one could expect from a short track Cup race.
Super secret insider conspiracy report: Lauren Wallace made his long awaited NASCAR Cup Series debut, Sunday, in the DEI #1 car. The driver of the Bass Pro Shops #1 car was thought to be Martin Truex, Jr, but a crew member who had returned to the hauler to get more parts for the crash cart, halfway through the found Truex bound and gagged behind the big trailer. Meanwhile, the #1 car was doing everything its driver could to put every car on the track into the wall. Young Wallace's true identity wasn't discovered until after the race was over.
When asked why he highjacked Truex's car, the young television star replied that he wanted everybody to say, "There goes Lauren Wallace, the greatest driver ever to get behind a wheel."
When asked why he didn't try to take out the points leader, Jeff Gordon, when he had the chance, Wallace implied that the time would come when Gordon least expected it.
"Poor fellow, he has no idea," said Wallace, "He'll be looking around saying, 'where's Lauren Wallace?' I'm a hundred miles away, son, ready to strike."
As of the time of this writing, no team has announced security measures to prevent Wallace from getting into another car.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Star of the future.

Joey Lagano has been having the time of his life this year. At the young age of seventeen, he has won Rookie of the Year, in the NASCAR Busch East series, the Busch East Series Championship, and now, the NASCAR Grand National Toyota All Stars race.
The Toyota All-Star race, which takes place at the much revered Irwindale Raceway, in Irwindale, California, is to the minor leagues of NASCAR what the Knoxville Nationals is to the winged sprint car leagues. It is a celebration of those drivers who race at your local short tracks across the country, as well as a spotlight on those who would otherwise have no national recognition.
Joey Lagano was discovered by none other than Mark Martin, who mentioned his name and reputation to several NASCAR Nextel Cup teams. It was Joe Gibbs Racing who picked the youngster up for their developmental driver program and the rest is history in the making.
Winning the short track All Stars event at Irwindale doesn't automatically gain a young driver a spot on a Cup team. Lagano will still have to prove himself on the speedways, dirt tracks, and superspeedways of the ARCA/Remax Series. According to his peers, many of them seasoned drivers in the various short track venues, Lagano has enough talent that this should be no problem.
Lagano isn't the only driver from the Toyota All Stars who has caught attention. Peyton Sellers, finished second after a long, hard fought battle with Lagano, and an intensly exciting Green/white/checkered finish. No doubt his talent won't be overlooked by the manufacturers and/or major NASCAR teams and sponsors.

Photo credit: Michelle Theriault official website.

Meanwhile, my new favorite lady driver, Michelle Theriault, has garnered enough attention through her sponsorship from Glock Firearms, to make us watch. She has had some impressive finishes in the Busch East Series and in a young ARCA/Remax career. Unfortunately, though she entered the feature race by qualifying on time, she was caught up in the "pretty big one" by just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and finished fourtieth. Still, I can't resist a girl with a Glock, and have joined her fan club.
Overall, the season ending event at Irwindale is an extended race for the best of the short track drivers nation-wide, and gives us all the thrill of seeing our local heros on national TV. A surprise guest commentater, Darrell Waltrip, added to the fun of watching the event on Speed TV. We should be thankful to Speed, Toyota, and NASCAR for bringing us this important annual event.

Picking on Martinsville

I am terrible at fantasy games. Even if I had been able to participate--I had no web access for several months--for the full season, my points would probably still be in the backmarker section. I have often wondered why, and that wondering has led me to believe that by picking drivers to win I have jinxed them.
Last year, I quit mentioning Matt Kenseth in my picks, because every time I picked him he ran into terrible luck. I didn't learn my lesson. At the beginning of the Chase this year, I picked him to be a possible Dark Horse winner, and look what has happened to him. I won't even mention the name of my favorite driver in this post.
I will base my picks on the assumption that I do jinx the drivers I pick, and on posts such as this one I found while surfing the forums (From Yahoo Answers, posted by "chritopher1"

Jeff Gordon is the best nascar racer of all time bar none.?
Petty no way his wins don’t matter cause they are inflated and had no competition...Dale sr. was born poor and made it to racing...that don’t make him the greatest driver. His 7 championship either...let him try and win one of the new cup championship...Dale is lucky the 24 wasn’t racing in 86 as well cause then he would never had one championship. beside Jeff Gordon has past Dale in wins in some 300 less races...the 24 would be capturing his 6th title this year if they didn’t try this stupid chase thing.. he would have a 500 pt lead over second even with his 100 pt penalty this year....I know you old heads want to kiss Dale’s feet but please let the man 3rd place all time...the 24 is the tiger woods of Nascar...and has just as big of a heart as Dale and his brat of a son ever had....24 to the front got another pole today...i know I’m right and i doubt that the uneducated non enunciating Dale SR and JR fan can read this. The 24 could win in any of years past championship the old timers are the ones who couldn’t win today

Now, you can't get any better information than that on who is going to win the race. Jeff Gordon is obviously the Best Racer Ever. Jeff Gordon is so good, that he will win even if his brakes fail and he wrecks his car. Jeff Gordon will be the only car on the track at the finish line, because everybody else will have wrecked trying to beat him. Jeff Gordon is so good, he shouldn't even have to run the race to win. There is no way that anybody is going to beat him, so they should all quit racing now, and go on from the "Drive for Five" to "Six for the Pricks" As the greatest racer ever, and forever more, nobody can come close to beating Jeff Gordon at Martinsville or any other track.
There, you heard it, I'm picking The Gordon to win everything.
Now, let's see how this jinx thing works.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Anything's possible.

It might be as cold in Hell as it is in Colorado today.
After years of disappointment, I still consider myself a Colorado Rockies fan, though watching baseball on television isn't one of my favorite passtimes.
After the first two seasons of their existance, the Rockies story seemed to be the same every year--start the season strong, then slump, then fade into nothing. I got to telling people that "I like the Rockies, so I'm not much of a baseball fan."
Somebody read that exact phrase as I wrote it in one of the forums in which I participate, and sent me a message telling me about the amazing winning streak the Rockies were experiencing. This was before the playoffs, and, dutifully amazed, I watched the Rockies easily take the National League Championship.
So, after seven years of being less than optimistic about my home town baseball team, I find that the Rockies are a very real World Series contender.
With that in mind, I have to consider that there are still five races to go in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship, there is no way we can give up on Tony Stewart. Jeff Gordon has said, after the last two races, that nobody should give up on Stewart, that he can still come back and win the chase, and that he could do it without the HMS teams running into trouble. Jeff Gordon is saying this to keep himself motivated to excell, but he is also the most experienced active driver in the Cup Series when it comes to competing for the championship, so we have to assume that he knows what he is talking about.
I would rather see Gordon and Johnson take each other out at Martinsville--they are entirely capable of doing that, as competitive as they are--but to think that Stewart can come from behind without help from other peoples misfortune takes a lot of faith.

Still, knowing Tony's talent and abilities, having that faith is not, at this point, overly optimistic. A lot can happen in five races, and getting top two's in each of those five races is not that far fetched for the #20 team. Most of the journalists in the Media have given up on Smoke, but Jeff Gordon hasn't, his team hasn't, and I'm not ready to do that either.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Great for Indianapolis Motor Speedway history buffs

While surfing, recently, I came across a wonderful website called The First Superspeedway.
Here is an excerpt from the site's overview:

Auto racing historians and journalists will find this Web site a gold mine. This is the best collection of pre-World War I American oval track auto racing research in the world. This site is chock full of volumes of material about the earliest oval horse track races, and, of course, the seminal races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As a bonus, there's some great road racing content as well, such as original articles about the brutally hot first French Grand Prix in 1906. Here's a quick overview of what you'll find:

Hundreds of 90 to 100+ year-old first-hand account articles.
Entire books written by people from the era scanned in PDF format.
Compelling scanned images lifted from the articles – some examples are on this page.
Pen and ink artwork you can use as free clip art
Original articles by me, Mark Dill

The site is, indeed, a treasure for racing history buffs, and the old photographs are fantastic. The books and articles are linked to pdf format, so it is necessary to have Adobe Reader downloaded to your computer, but the time it takes to download is well worth it for this site alone.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Practical Optimism

When it gets to the point in a race where it looks like my favorite driver isn't going to win, it really doesn't matter to me which driver goes to Victory Lane. I just want to see a good race.
So, when the #20 team tried a quicky fuel stop and ended up playing bumper pool trying to get out of the pits, this Tony Stewart fan felt very disappointed and frustrated, but thinking, "it could be worse."
Kevin Harvick was one of the drivers I picked to watch toward the end of the race, but a huge mistake involving a tire going flat and a misdiagnosis in the pit, put him three laps down early in the race. But Harvick still finished the race, and we know that it could be worse.
Early in the Chase, I wondered in print if Matt Kenseth wouldn't be the surprise contender. Since then, he has had some very bad luck. I fear that I may have jinxed the Cool One, but it seems that he was destined for bad luck no matter what anybody wrote. So far in the Chase, Kenseth has started each race with a top notch car. But, that has caused him to be uncharacteristically aggressive at the beginning of the race. Not that he can't handle that, for he is one of the best drivers in the sport, but, to date, it hasn't worked out for him. Bad luck seems to find him very easily when he is running at the front of the pack early in the race. Twice, since the Chase began, his car has developed electrical problems early. This has resulted in putting him deep in traffic, where his car has often become a pinball. That is how his night turned out. Maybe Jack and Robby should think about giving him a car that can be improved during the race, rather than being so good right off the hauler.
It could be worse. There is not one Dodge in the Chase for the Championship this year. The Dodges, however did look very good during the race at Charlotte. Ryan Newman got the pole position in qualifying, and for a large portion of the race, Dodge pilots Bobby Labonte and Scott Riggs were racing very well, with Riggs even leading a lap. Near the very end of the race, with eleven laps to go, Ryan Newman took a very exciting lead after the restart and got everybody up on their feet as he sped around the track--and cut a tire, running into the wall. That was after Scott Riggs got caught up in a wreck with Johnny Paul Montoya, who was also in a Dodge. This was not Dodge's year. It seemed that nearly every Dodge on the track wrecked at one point or another during Saturday's race.
Jeff Gordon's restart tactics at the green flag of the green/white/checkered finish were brilliant, which is what is to be expected of a great driver. He waited until his car was almost on the start/finish line before he began accelerating, robbing second place Clint Bowyer of the chance to get a run on him. I'm not a fan of The Gordon, but I do believe that a Jeff Gordon who races well means a good race. I am happy that the Drive for Five is alive, and I'm looking forward to seeing it stay alive for the remainder of the season, and next season, and every season until The Gordon decides to retire. Mostly because there is nothing that rhymes with "six" that is appropriate.
It could be worse--you could be the rear axle guy in Rusty Wallace's shop.
Or, worse, you could be David Stremme.

"It could be worse," Stremme said. "I could be out digging ditches or doing something else. You can always say, 'This could be better' or 'that could be better' but it could be a lot worse, too. At least I'm able to walk around. I'm healthy. And I feel that I have enough talent to be at this level."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Lowe's preview--my "Do-over"

Those of us who watched the Busch series race at Lowe's, Friday night witnessed impending doom. ESPN color commentantor Rusty Wallace watched with dismay as the rear axle fell out of his #66 car, driven by Reed Sorenson.
"These things don't happen by themselves," declared a dissappointed Wallace, "Somebody left something loose on that car."
What we really heard was, "Some heads are going to roll."
Lauren (I swear he says his name is "Warren") Wallace was nowhere to be seen, nor was Teresa Earnhardt.
But that wasn't all the doom Rusty foretold. He found his catchphrase during Cup qualifying and dubbed turn 3-4, "Calamity Corner."
Of course, it being ESPN, who thrives on catchphrases, we heard "Calamity Corner" several times, during the Busch Series race, not only referring to the race itself, but in anticipation to Saturday night's Cup race.
So, in anticipation of Saturday's Cup race, I bring you part two of my race preview.
The tires are a slightly softer compound than we have seen in the last two races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but we still heard drivers who were having trouble place the blame on "hard tires." It actually still has a lot to do with the new pavement, coupled with a refusal on the part of the drivers to "go slow to go fast (another catchphrase)." As much as the drivers want there to be two grooves, they aren't really there. It should be noted that Tony Stewart, who has been notorious for complaining about the tires at Lowe's, has said nothing about the tires. In fact he's said very little about anything. Hmmm.
Still, it is hard not to pick Jimmie Johnson to win. He is on a roll, and this time last year was the peak of the season for him, a peak that he maintained all the way to the last race. Any problem he had with the tires or the track during the Busch race will be rectified by Saturday night. That is just the way the #48 team operates. It pains me to be rational, but I have to be that way sometimes.
Still, there are no sure things in the Chase for the Championship at this point. We still have to believe that anything can happen. Otherwise, there would be no point in watching.
We should watch the RCR cars. Clint Bowyer is the only driver on that team who isn't yet under the "must win" pressure. That may work out good for him, and his participation in the Busch race gave him plenty of information about the track. Not being pressured may help him in getting a good finish. By the same token, Kevin Harvick has been known to work well under pressure. He is by no means out of the Chase--with six races to go, 202 points is not insurmountable odds. We will see him being careful during most of the race, but he will definitely want to lead some laps. Hunger for a win helps in some drivers, and, in the past, when "Happy" is hungry for a win, he can devour it.
The major prediction I would like to make, concerning Saturday night's Cup race, is that we will see some good racing. Whether that prediction comes true or not depends on smart racing. Green flag pit stops will be very important, as will over all pit strategy. Racing smart also means that the driver uses the right tactics in taking the treacherous turns Lowe's offers. We can't keep hoping that the strangeness that has characterized the Chase thus far will continue, but we can hope that smart racing will keep the Chase close.
Update: Jeff Gordon picks Tony Stewart to win the Chase. Not really, but he had some very flattering words to say about Smoke here.

Back to normal? I hope not!

So far, the Chase for the Championship this year has been full of unusual events and twists of fate. With Ryan Newman taking the pole at Lowe's, and Jimmie Johnson has been, for all practical purposes, already been credited with the win at his "home" track Saturday night. Yes, NASCAR may be going back to "normal."
Do we really want normal? Normal is for Formula 1, where, normally the race is over after the first or second lap, and the rest of the event is only to see if the leader can stay on the track. Normal, in racing, is the Open Wheel Champ Car World Series (Champcar) shooting itself in the foot.
We are NASCAR fans because we don't want normal. We want the surprise endings we get to the races. We are not ready to give Jimmie Johnson the Championship.
We're not ready to give up on our drivers who do not drive for HMS.
Normal would mean that, with its typical military-like precision, Hendrick Motorsports would make no mistakes, that the race at Lowe's will go perfectly for the #48 team even if they get in a wreck early in the race. Normal would be boring for most of us.
Nobody is mathematically out of the Chase, yet. Kevin Harvick, 202 points out of the lead with six races left, is still a very viable candidate to win the Championship. And, we know, Tony Stewart isn't about to give up.
If I were to make my picks for Saturday's race, they would be based on my emotional feelings, not on facts or statistics. I would pick Tony Stewart to win and Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon to take each other out of the race. That is not likely to happen, and is rather fantasimal thinking. It is not normal, and I like it that way.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Talladega pictures you didn't see

Jr. loses yet another engine. The Chevy RO7 engine is the best reason for Joe Gibbs Racing to switch to Toyota.

Tony Stewart's erratic driving during the race alarmed and puzzled many fans. Here he can be seen leading the field while driving in reverse gear.

Darth Gordon celebrates his surprise victory.
Jimmieeeee, I am your Father

ABC breaks new ground in race broadcasting.

ABC/ESPN departed from race broadcasting as usual, Sunday, by foregoing post-race interviews. Not even the winner, Jeff Gordon, was interviewed in Victory Lane, which has been, in the past, the traditional conclusion to NASCAR broadcasts. Most NASCAR fans enjoy listening to the post-race interviews, but ABC,a long-time leader in sports broadcasting should know what it is doing in attempting to set a new precedent to reduce their viewership, which they obviously feel is too high.
Tony Stewart was disappointed and frustrated again. He clearly had the best car in the field, having posted the best qualifying time of the cars that qualified in race trim, and the fastest times in both practices, Friday. On the last lap of the race, he was moving up the outside lane, with the help of Kasey Kahne, when The Gordon made his move to get around teammate and race leader Jimmie Johnson. After being blocked by Johnson, Gordon moved up in front of Stewart. Stewart gave him the push he needed to take the lead, but, after that, Tony was left hanging without a drafting partner and was shuffled back in the field. He finished eighth, which dropped him back to 155 points out of the lead.
It seems that nobody, not even his team mate Denny Hamlin, wanted to risk helping our Smoke get back to the front, and maybe bettering their finishing position for themselves.
Still, with six races left, Tony Stewart is still well within striking distance to take the lead in points, and the Cup championship. Frustration only adds to his edge, and he will use that edge to drive himself to excellence.
Meanwhile, The Gordon, on SpeedTV's Windtunnel with Dave Despain, criticised Stewart for helping him win the race. It seems that nobody really wanted to win at Talladega, anyway.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The 'Dega Factor

Notice: The author of this blog is undergoing a fit of snarkiness. Please take everything written here with a grain of salt.

We all love mysteries. The best kind of mystery is the one that has so many twists, subplots, and surprises that it keeps us guessing until the very last page.
We'll set this mystery at the site of an old Indian burial ground in Alabama. Strong forces are at work. But are they physical forces, or a Spiritual force that defies all physical explanation?
The main characters number forty-three, with another forty-three supporting characters. At least seven of these eighty-six are villains, with more evil lurking in the background. There are over a hundred thousand minor characters who all figure into this mystery.
The name of the place is Talladega, a 2.66 mile D-shaped oval. Twelve out of the forty-three heros all quest for one object--the coveted Nextel Cup, the last one in the future history of mankind. Only one may capture it.
But that moment of capture is far off, for first an icon called the Checkered Flag must be collected. If it isn't, it is important to each of the Chasers, as those on the quest are known, to finish in front of the other eleven. And, there are thirty-one additional heros questing for the Checkered Flag.
The most popular, by far, of the thirty-one non-Chasers, is The Golden Child, Dale Earnhardt Jr. His following is multitudnous--fanatical worshippers who would throw a beer can through the windshield of a competitor, possibly causing serious injury or death at 190+ miles per hour, rather than seeing their hero lose. Dale, Jr. himself is a humble man, and a very talented driver, warranting much of the accolades heaped upon him by the rowdy multitudes. He can do no wrong in their eyes, even when he admits it and apologizes for it. If he runs into mishap, his fans say, it is because those close to him are out to stab him in the back. There have been claims that Junior's second cousin, Tony Eurey, Jr, is not really related to him, and that he is only going to Hendrick so he can sabotage Jr.'s car and spy on HMS for the Evil Teresa. So Talladega will be Tony Eurey, Jr's last chance to destroy Jr's car before he leaves DEI. Meanwhile, the Evil Teresa may not be done yet. She has been known to put miniature explosive devices in Jr's engines to make them fail with six laps to go in a race. But none of that should matter, because rookie Jaques Villeneuve is going to wreck the entire field by lap 182. Or will he?
With all the positive Spiritual energy emitted by the Jr Nation, as The Golden Child's following is called, Dale Earnhardt, Jr may prevail, escaping all the traps and pit falls being laid for him. This is the type of quest at which he is best.
There will be others who want to achieve that goal. The mean and nasty Tony Stewart--who has been known to take out the entire field just to be mean and nasty--posted the top speed at both practices. He is determined to win, even if it means taking out his best friend.
The evil Kyle Busch will be out for revenge, because The Golden Child accidently took him out of the running for the Cup, or so it seems. He may be driven to take out Junior, especially if he goes down a lap, for he will have nothing to lose.
Then there is the greatest Villain of all, The Gordon, and his non-identical clone JJ (Jeff Junior, aka Jimmie "Unibrow" Johnson.) They make up their own rules as they go through a race, with the blessings of the Gods, Mike Helton and John Darby, and the Devil Hinself, Brian France. One of the two is favored to win, not just the Checkered Flag, but the Holy Cup itself. We don't know which one, but since they are clones, it doesn't matter.
We honestly don't know what will happen. We will just have to wait for the last page on Sunday.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Look out! I have some more random thoughts.

With all the worry by Kyle Busch and The Gordon, about Jaques Villeneuve at Talledega for his first stock car race, we seem to be forgetting one thing:
This is the first race for everybody in the CoT car at Talledega.
The Gordon and Jaques are on equal footing as far as experience in the car goes.
The Canadian Curmudgeon points out how difficult it is to pick a winner at Talledega, and also reminds us that the track is built on an Indian Burial ground, which should tell us that no matter what kind of car is being used, strange things will happen.
I will forego making any kind of predictions for Sunday until after qualifying. And even then, I may not.
Except for this: I predict the Big One will happen with eighteen laps to go.
Just a gut feeling.
Will the Cup drivers shun the Nationwide Racing Series (my suggestion for the series name) next year? I don't think so. The drivers will still be there for the competition and the love of what they do. Even with Yates dropping out, there are still a few Cup owners with cars in the series, along with JMS and KHI, and these owners will still be interested in seeing how their developmental drivers stack up against the top drivers in the NNCS. Besides, there will still be plenty of openings in the field, and not even the NRS owners Like Braun and Brewer will want to see their cars get wrecked by an over abundance of unproven drivers. But we won't be able to call them "Buschwhackers" any more. Any suggestions for a new name?
Scott Riggs won't be driving for GEM next year, but he will be racing in the #66 car, which means he won't have to qualify for the first five races. Will this change his luck?
Question--Will Ashley Judd make a name for herself in NASCAR by complaining about the other drivers? An interesting poll question would be Which Driver Do You Predict will be Ashley's favorite target? Please answer in the Comments section.
And, what about David Stremme? Will he be in Cup next year? For whom will he be driving if he is in Cup? Stay tuned for the next episode of As The Left Turns

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kansas: Whattha...?!?

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

We have to say that the Life Lock 400 turned out to be one of the most unique and, well, bizarre races we have ever seen. Even our ruby slippers wore out. And Greg Biffle finally ended up in Victory Lane. One can't help but to think that a mere thirty minutes more of rain would have resulted in a win for Tony Stewart, or even if the NASCAR officials suddenly became rational, Smoke would have won a called race. But, as most of us should know by now, NASCAR is anything but rational.
I will interject here that this isn't a report of the race, but a reaction to the event. If the reader didn't seen the race, I urge them to find somebody who TiVoed it, or at least to read an account of the race.
We wanted to see Da Biff win one. He is, after all one of the top drivers in the sport, and even if we aren't all that fond of him, it seemed frustrating to have to wait so long for him to win one.
The attrition rate among the Chasers was heavy, with seven of the twelve Chase drivers being involved in accidents. The entire Chase for the Championship has brought about moments of intensity that haven't been matched during the short history of the Chase. These guys are racing at a level we have never before seen. Amid all the carnage, we have seen some amazing and superior racing in Dover and Kansas. As dull as Loudon was--excepting Clint Bowyer's first victory--we knew the Chase had to get better, but never would we have expected this.
Who woulda thunk that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would be the first non-chaser to carry the onus of taking out a championship contender? It was a rare misjudgement on the part of Driver #8, who is among the best drivers when it comes to car control. Running into the back of The Schrub's (Kyle Busch's) car changed the playoff picture quite drastically. But then, so did several other incidents during the race. For instance, Greg Zippadeli and the #20 team should not have waited to look at the decision to gamble in retrospect. We knew that the correct strategy should have been to pit and repair, and we could all foresee that the tire would deflate. This is yet another what if--Tony would have been much closer to the points lead if his team had made the rational decision. My question is, after the gamble to stay out just before the rain hit turned out a winner, did Zippy develop a temporary gambling addiction?
At both Dover and Kansas, Matt Kenseth seemed uncharacteristically aggressive. He had every right to be so, because in both races, he had an exceptional car. However, Dover ended in disaster for him, and he narrowly escaped disaster at Kansas. One should wonder, if Kenseth had stuck to his accustomed driving style, would he have won both races? We'll never know.
After Johnny Paul Montoya cut a tire, and shed debris all over the track with four laps to go, the race should have ended with a green-white-checker shootout. However, darkness fell, and the race ended under a bizarre caution. Bizarre because the race leader, Greg Biffle, ran out of fuel in the final turn and had to coast across the finish line. Now, I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the rules in this case are that the car must cross the finish line under its own momentum, which it did. Nobody pushed the car across the line, and the speed was reasonable in that nobody had to stop to avoid passing it. That is the other applicable rule, that the field is frozen at the time of the caution and that there is no passing under the caution. The Hendrick Motorsports drivers, namely The Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, decided to make their own interpretation of the rule, which, if allowed, would have created a paradoxical situation in which fifth place Casey Mears would have been the winner. For once, probably for the first time in the history of the organization, NASCAR made a rational decision and avoided the paradox, giving Greg Biffle the victory.
Something else that had nothing to do with the race seemed just as bizarre as the race itself. ABC/ESPN ran out of commercials to air. They must have. I don't think there were more than one or two of the annoying interruptions for the entire period after the coverage switched from ABC to ESPN2 due to time constraints. How unusual. once again, it would be a good idea to check CawsnJaws for details.
If it had rained for another thirty minutes, think what we would have missed.

My pick for the best quote of the weekend: Saturday, in the closing laps of the Busch Series race, Kyle Busch was running behind Matt Kenseth before a restart. On the back of Kenseth's Arby's sponsored car are the words "Free fries on Monday if I win."
Kyle radioed his Crew Chief, and asked,"Do I want free fries or radio call-in on Monday?" He chose the media hastle of the radio call-in by beating Kenseth to the checkers.
The best interview is a toss-up between the very informative one with Ray Everham, during the rain delay, and Clint Bowyer's post race interview in which he displayed profound sportsmanship.

Other news:
Stewart will not be penalized for expletive Told ya so. It turns out that it was not the same as it would have been had it been an interview. Though the audio was on with the camera, the commentators were talking over it, and it could not be heard clearly. Besides, no one was watching, anyway.

Motorsports icon Wally Parks dies at 94
Parks founded the NHRA in 1950, and is every bit as much a household word among race fans as Bill France. Drag racing as we know it was practically invented by the man. He served on the Board of Directors of the NHRA until his death last Friday.